I missed reviewing “Downton Abbey” episode four which was about regret. One often regrets things done at a party and apparently that’s even true for after a grand and dignified party. You can still view this episode VoD on PBS.
This is April 1922 still. This episode begins with the end of the party and all the party guests departing because when you have an estate in the country, all of your guests come by train up from London.
The party introduced a new baddie, Lord Sampson, who uses his position to get invited to parties where he uses his skills and cheats his way into winning loads of money. Yet the problem with good manners is that once someone has insinuated himself into your life, it’s hard to insulate your life from further intrusions but that comes later.
But if there’s someone bad upstairs, there is also a new threat downstairs in the form of Lord Gillingham’s (Tom Cullen) valet, Mr. Green, who raped Anna (Joanne Froggatt). Anna hasn’t revealed what happened to her husband, the Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle).
The steady Tom (Allen Leech) felt out of place at the party and the vulturous Edna (MyAnna Buring) took advantage of it by going to his room. Get a man when he’s a bit depressed and a might tipsy in his room and then give him plenty of sympathy. Tom instantly regrets his night of carnal comfort. Edna, every the opportunist, knows just the remedy for regret; she claims she is pregnant. Really, how could she know in less than a month? Luckily for Tom, he asks Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) for help and she discovers Edna was a very modern woman. She uses contraception. Faced with the facts, Edna leaves. Will she be back?
Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Tom go to London and will soon regret that they brought Lady Rose (Lily James) with them. They stay with Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond). Mary is, remember, in half-mourning, and we can’t have Mary without a romantic thread, now can we. So Lady Rosamund invites the almost engaged Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen). One can’t help wonder how the almost-fiancée feels and how she politely handles her feelings.
Lady Rose finds someone to interest her in London: A black jazz singer, Jack Ross (Gary Carr). It’s hard to determine which of those things make him the most unsuitable. All of those things together are more scandal than anyone from Downton Abbey can handle, even though Lady Rose only dances with the man. Remember this is the 1920s. If this had been in the Deep South of the U.S., the knights of the triple K might have been called out. In the aristocratic circles of London, Lady Mary, Lady Rosamund, Lord Gillingham and Tom can only show discomfort, particularly since the jazz singer saved Lady Rosamund from the deep humiliation of being deserted on the dance floor by a drunk toff.
Lady Rosamund must regret her position as the lady-in-watching for her Downton Abbey relations. She hosts Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) who still can’t shake her bad karma for dissing Lady Mary so long ago (Series One) in 1914. Mr. Gregson is going to Germany in hopes of becoming a citizen so he can divorce his insane wife and she felt she had to show her appreciation somehow. She decides to spend the night with her Mr. Gregson (Charles Edwards) who just got her father’s approval at the party. Unfortunately, Lady Edith isn’t a modern girl like Edna.
Downstairs, devoid Edna, there is still trouble. Anna (Joanne Froggatt) has PTSD and feels unworthy of her husband’s love. She moves out of the cottage she shared with her husband and into the house–after all, she is needed as a lady’s maid due to Edna’s sudden departure.
Downstairs, Alfred (Matt Milne) is thinking of bettering himself, by taking a test to enter a culinary school. Even the servants think if London as a better place to be. Of course, Thomas (Rob James-Collier) also thinks of bettering himself, but is careful not to become sacked and sent away.
This episode ends with Lord Gillingham regretting his almost engagement as he pursues Lady Mary all the way to Downton Abbey, but as Lady Mary expressed in London: She isn’t quite over Matthew’s death. Matthew died in September and it is only April–seven months.
This is a B+ episode because we think we know where we’re heading, but there might be surprises ahead. “Downton Abbey” returns to PBS on Sunday at 9 p.m. Check local listings. This episode is currently available VoD on PBS.org.